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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

February 2, 2014


A battle of 15 years old rums

It's Sunday, it's rum time. So let's do a little horizontale and try to find some good (relatively) dry ones, so genuine malternatives...

St Nicholas Abbey 15 yo (40%, OB, Barbados, +/-2012)

St Nicholas Abbey 15 yo (40%, OB, Barbados, +/-2012) Four stars It's from a single cask but I'm not sure there's much inviduality in each and every cask. Colour: gold. Nose: it's a very elegant one that hints at some great bourbon with these notes of coconut and vanilla, then polished wood, sandalwood and only a moderate sweetness. It's also quite floral, with some honeysuckle touches of acacia honey. All rather delicate and, I have to say, elegant indeed. Mouth: starts on cranberry juice and some kind of spiced mangos (some kind of chutney), then we have more soft wood spices, first cinnamon then vanillin and touches of cloves (speculoos). Also ripe bananas, touches of liquorice, a little vanilla fudge... The sweetness is quite perfect, balance was found. Finish: maybe a little short but clean and quite 'tropical'. Bananas, liquorice, raisins and vanilla in the aftertaste. Comments: this rum session starts well, for once. It's complex and perfectly balanced rum, only the 40% vol. aren't quite enough. How many times have I written that? Now, it's also expensive rum, around €250 a bottle. SGP:551 - around 86 points.

Borgoe 15 yo (40%, OB, Suriname, Single Barrel, +/-2013)

Borgoe 15 yo (40%, OB, Suriname, Single Barrel, +/-2013) Four stars It's the first time I'm trying some rum from Suriname. The country's very close to Guyana, so maybe this is Demerara-style rum? Colour: amber. Nose: indeed, this is akin to a good, fairly rounded Demerara, with something such as smoked molasses and quite a few overripe tropical fruits. Bananas. Some tar as well, some liquorice, some pipe tobacco and some raisins. A little hay as well, this one is quite elegant once again, albeit of a heavier style than the St Nicholas Abbey. Mouth: a fairly smoky start, with quite some burnt sugar, candy sugar and liquorice. Once again, no cloying sweetness in this one, all fine. Goes on with this a little tar and a few drier notes, around unsweetened black tea. Some black raisins too. Finish: rather long, spicier and more chocolaty. A little toffee and a little coffee. Caramel in the aftertaste. Comments: another excellent one, Demerara-style indeed, just a little rounder than the 'average' Demerara. More candied than the Barbadian. SGP:541 - around 85 points.

Speaking of Demerara...

Uitvlugt 1998 (40%, Mezan, Guyana, Demerara, +/-2013)

Uitvlugt 1998 (40%, Mezan, Guyana, Demerara, +/-2013) Three stars Uitvlugt was the last of the Demerara distilleries to close down, in 2000. I really liked Mezan's blended Jamaican last year (WF 86). Colour: whiter wine. No caramel added! Nose: a little light at first, but it shows Uitvlugt true colours, with some tar and pitch, grass fire and green olives, then sugar cane, black truffles and some plasticine. Smoky brine. Love this style. Mouth: absolutely excellent, with the same flavours as in the nose, only the low strength is frustrating. Very frustrating! Love the saltiness, the olives, the petroly and tarry side, the smoke... Finish: shortish, very briny. Smoked almonds, olives, touches of horseradish... Comments: I don't think it should be allowed to reduce these rums that much. A scandal! This is potentially 88-89, but it was drowned. SGP:452 - around 82 points.

Opthimus 15 yo (38%, Oliver & Oliver, Dominican Republic, +/-2013)

Opthimus 15 yo (38%, Oliver & Oliver, Dominican Republic, +/-2013) one star and a half I wasn't a fan of the Port finished version last year, it was much too sweet for my taste. Colour: light gold. Good news? Nose: classic sweet, smooth and rounded rum, on molasses, bananas and raisins. A lot of candy sugar, banana flambéed and vanilla. All fine so far despite a certain lack of character. Mouth: extremely smooth and sweet, this is a blend of cane sugar syrup with honey and pineapple/banana juice. Another one that's very liqueury, and the low strength makes it a little flat I'm afraid. A shame because the profile is very okay if you like your rum very sweet and rounded. Finish: short, not a lot happening. Maybe oranges? Comments: good rum but it's too light, easy and sweet for my taste. Pass. SGP:730 - around 68 points.

Dzama 15 yo 'XV' (45%, OB, Madagascar, +/-2013)

Dzama 15 yo 'XV' (45%, OB, Madagascar, +/-2013) Two stars Dzama is said to be the best African rum. I've already tried a 3 yo back in 2009 and for such a young spirit, I found it very good (WF 80). It's made in the northern part of Madagascar. Sadly, this 15yo is very expensive, around €250. Colour: dark gold. Nose: it's a rum that's rather on coffee liqueur and earth at first nosing, and that would then develop on grass, eucalyptus, mint and leather. Also touches of cigar smoke and pinewood smoke. An elegant nose for sure. Mouth: stewed fruits and many spices, globally a little sour and maybe a tad disjointed. Overripe apples and liquid caramel, a feeling of Guinness, overripe bananas, orange squash and then a little icing sugar. Orange sweets. Certainly good but not extraordinary, especially when considering the price. Finish: rather long, on stewed fruits, with more spices, esp. black pepper. Vanilla. Comments: I have to say I'm a little disappointed. May lack structure. SGP:641 - around 74 points.

Zacapa 'Solera Centenario 15' (40%, OB, Guatemala, +/-2013)

Zacapa 'Solera Centenario 15' (40%, OB, Guatemala, +/-2013) Two stars and a half I've been caught, I've just seen that the '15' was misleading, this one is actually a blend of rums aged between 6 and 15 years. Sneaky! Colour: amber. Nose: a rounded, molassy nose, full of candy sugar and corn syrup. Also roasted peanuts, maybe, a little orange blossom water, dried apricots and figs, then faint whiffs of curry powder. Also a floral side, with peonies and not-too-fragrant roses. Mouth: sweet but not too sweet, maybe a tad thin. Raisins and bananas, earl grey tea, oranges and a mix of sweet spices. Less complex than the nose. Also strawberry jam, orange liqueur, a little cardamom... It's certainly good rum, but a little more oomph would have been welcome. Finish: medium length. Brown sugar, honey sauce and dried fruits. Comments: certainly very good but not quite my stuff, and conversely. SGP:630 - around 79 points.

Let's have a last rum for today, a slightly older one for example...

Flor de Caña 18 yo 'Centenario' (40%, OB, Nicaragua, +/-2013)

Flor de Caña 18 yo 'Centenario' (40%, OB, Nicaragua, +/-2013) Three stars Colour: dark amber. Nose: a rather rich, tarry and earthy start, much to my liking. There's also some burnt oak, some coffee, then more tangerines and roasted nuts, esp. pecans, something faintly metallic that I quite enjoy and lastly, quite some burnt sugar and chocolate sauce (mole). Maybe also a little camphor, but not much. All very fine so far. Mouth: a little too much sugar in the arrival but balance is found just two seconds later, although again and again, the low strength is a disadvantage. A lot of chocolate, burnt caramel, orange zests, drops of limejuice and then more oak spices. Cloves and cinnamon. The oranges bring a welcome freshness, that's maybe what's missing in many clumsy rums. Finish: not too short, curiously fresh. The oranges again. A little drying oak in the aftertaste. Comments: I found this one simply very pleasant despite the lack of oomph and body. SGP:550 - around 82 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Rums I've tasted so far


Whiskyfun fav of the month

January 2014

Favourite recent bottling:
Talisker 27 yo 1985/2013 (56.10%, OB, Special Releases, 3000 bottles)  - WF 92

Favourite older bottling:
Longmorn 16 yo 1972/1988 (58.8%, Intertrade, 507 bottles) - WF 94

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Caol Ila 30 yo 1982/2013 (53%, Signatory, hogshead, cask #6487, 226 bottles) - WF 91







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